Airstreamers are really a family, and in good times caravanning together is a great way to spend a vacation, or a retirement. But in bad times, it can be something even more meaningful.
Karl and Cindy Weisenberger have been married for 38 years, and once while driving from home in Oklahoma City to visit family in Denver, they passed an Airstream caravan. Cindy uses her calendar to plan everything short and long-term, and when she saw the silver bullets on the highway, she made a note. “When we retire, we’ll do that,” she said.
But the catalyst was something much more somber. Karl and Cindy’s son Kyle was a rising star on the BMX racing scene, but he was involved in a car accident in December 2009 and sadly passed away. His parents were heartbroken.
“Airstream’s what saved us, and brought us out of our grief,” Cindy said.
The Weisenbergers bought their first trailer in June of 2010, and Karl had to buy and learn to drive a truck to pull it. They took Kyle’s dog and headed out on the road – and what they found was a welcoming community of travelers.
“Everywhere we go, we meet wonderful people,” Cindy said. “It’s helped us to move forward with our life. It’s helped us to heal a lot.”
And Kyle’s spirit lives on in his family, who have taken on a cause that was very important to their son. They had never discussed organ donation until Kyle came home with a red heart on his driver’s license, and he wouldn’t rest until his parents were on board too.
“He asked me why I wasn’t a donor, and I said, ‘I guess it’s just facing your own mortality,’” Cindy said. “He didn’t back down until I’d signed my own paperwork, and he was a witness.”
After Kyle’s accident, his heart went to a man who desperately needed a transplant. That man had three small children. “Our Christmas that year was destroyed,” said Karl, “but Kyle made four families’ Christmases right.”
Now the Weisenbergers travel the United States in their Airstream, talking to others about the importance of donation. Karl himself has donated almost 15 gallons of blood, but they still put Kyle first.
“He accomplished more in his 24 years than I have in my entire life,” Karl said.